How long to let ribs rest? Tips to get the best from ribs!

Ribs are exactly like every other meat and require resting, Why should you rest ribs and how long to let ribs rest for are the questions covered below. We’ve added some extra tips to help you get the best out of this simple-to-smoke meat.

A rack of ribs is one of the many delights served from the smoker, and also one of the most simple to smoke. Ribs are great for any beginner new to smoking. If by chance you’re here because this is your first time smoking ribs then I recommend brushing up your knowledge of the 3-2-1 method. It was designed just for smoking ribs.

When are ribs done?

A rack of ribs is ready when the internal temperature of the meat reaches 195 degrees Fahrenheit (91 degrees Celsius) while on the smoker. To check the temperature of the meat insert a digital thermometer into the meat so that it reaches the center between the 2 largest rib bones.

While resting the internal temperature of the meat will continue to rise to around 205 degrees Fahrenheit (96 degrees Celsius) which is the perfect temperature for ribs should be enjoyed.

Why do ribs need resting?

Ribs require resting for the same reason a steak needs resting. During smoking, the protein fibers within the meat tighten and release, and fluid is released from these protein fibers during cooking. Once the meat is at the correct internal temperature resting the ribs allows the fibers to flex and reabsorb the juices naturally into the meat.

Another benefit to allowing the ribs to rest is the heat is evenly dispersed inside the rib meat as they cool. By allowing the ribs to rest before carving the result is the softest juiciest rib meat ever!

How long to let ribs rest for?

A full rack of ribs does not require a long resting period. Ribs can be fully rested in 10 minutes. Resting ribs for any longer than 10 minutes and the ribs will start to cool and ribs cool very quickly! Because pork ribs aren’t big thick chunks of meat, there isn’t much meat or fat to help with heat retention.

rested ribs

How to rest ribs

Ribs should be rested on a flat surface like a chopping board, or a warm plate. Tenting the ribs with foil but not wrapping them with the foil will help to keep the ribs warm for longer. Unwrapped resting works best if you plan on resting, carving, and eating straight away.

Resting the ribs in tightly wrapped in foil just how you wrap them for the Texas crutch will help reduce how quickly the ribs cool.

How long to let ribs rest in foil?

Removing the ribs straight from the smoker once done and wrapping them in foil immediately, the ribs will still take 10 minutes to fully rest. The difference between wrapping ribs in foil and resting unwrapped is the ribs will stay warm for around 40 minutes wrapped. Great if you’re not quite ready to eat or the sides aren’t ready yet.

Although leaving cooked ribs around and not nibbling at them is a challenge!

Keeping ribs warm

Rested in foil, ribs are very simple to keep warm in the bottom of the oven at a low temperature such as 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius). At this low-temperature ribs will stay warm for an hour or so in the oven without drying out.

Add some apple juice, cider vinegar, and/or BBQ sauce to the foil wrap before they enter the oven will keep the ribs as moist as possible.

The problem with keeping ribs in the oven even at low temperatures is the ribs will continue to cook. The ribs should be checked regularly to ensure they do not dry out.

Overcooked ribs will have no bite or pull left to the meat when eating off the bone, instead, the rib meat will fall off the bone. It is a matter of opinion as to which final texture is best to eat ribs at, but falling off the bone is actually overcooked by BBQ competition standards.

Remember when reheating pork from cold it needs to hit its safe eating temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63 degrees Celsius).

Final thoughts

Although not every BBQ chef will rest ribs and devour them straight from the smoker. Resting ribs changes the experience of eating ribs for the better. Rested ribs have the softest meat that melts in the mouth.